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Friday, March 13, 2009

Tallest Four Seasons coming up in KL

TWO tycoons and a royalty will go ahead and build the RM2.5 billion Four Seasons Place in Kuala Lumpur although a global economic crisis threatens to hurt demand for expensive hotels and apartments.

The much awaited property, located next to the Petronas Twin Towers, will be ready in 2012, says its developer Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir.

It comprises a hotel, apartments and a mall, and will be the world's tallest Four Seasons development.

Four Seasons Place is being built by Venus Assets Sdn Bhd, a firm controlled by Ipoh-born tycoon Ong Beng Seng, Syed Yusof and the Sultan of Selangor.

"We are committed to the project even during the downturn as it has a huge multiplier effect," Venus Assets chairman Syed Yusof told Business Times in a rare interview.

It expects to hire contractors for the building in the third quarter of the year.

Venus Assets bought the prime 1.05ha site for RM90 million in 2003 from the estate of the late Khoo Teck Puat, the former major shareholder of Standard Chartered plc, a British bank.

"We received the development order (last December) and we are now evaluating various proposals from the contractors to do the job. We have completed piling works, he said.

Piling work for the building, located between Wisma Central and Menara Maxis, started in 2007, two years after the project was announced.

"There was a pause in the project only because we were redesigning the building in terms of positioning and the composition.

"Previously, the Four Seasons was supposed to encompass two towers, but now it will all be a single 65-storey tower," Syed Yusof said.

The redesigning meant a new proposal had to be submitted to the authorities for approvals and it took time to obtain the green light.

The building, described as futuristic and sleek, will complement the Twin Towers and enhance the Kuala Lumpur skyline.

"We have included a 150,000 sq ft of retail component into the tower. The hotel will have 250 keys of which 150 are hotel rooms and 100 serviced apartments.

"There will also be 140 units of apartments which will be sold," Syed Yusof said.

The entire component will be ready simultaneously and will be managed by Four Seasons.

The apartments, which start from 3,000 sq ft per unit, will be sold for about RM2,500 per sq ft.

"The cost of construction for all components including land and interior design is RM1.4 billion and the estimated gross development value of the project is RM2.5 billion," Syed Yusof said.

When asked what kind of average room rate the hotel may fetch when ready, he said, "Four Seasons is a rate leader with rates which are usually 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher that the existing rate leaders," he said.

The rate leader in Kuala Lumpur City Centre currently garners between RM600 to RM700 in ARR. This means that Four Seasons may lift the bar to between RM800 and RM900 per night.

By Business Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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